This Week in Fintech: TFT Bi-Weekly News Roundup 13/07

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This Tuesday’s The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup sees digital mortgage lender Better acquire Trussle and a partnership for NAMMBA and Finastra.

Mergers and acquisitions

Better, a digital homeownership platform in the US, has snapped up UK fintech Trussle. The terms of the transaction are not disclosed, and is subject to regulatory approvals in both the US and the UK. Trussle CEO Ian Larkin and the existing management team will continue to lead the digital mortgage and insurance broker following the acquisition.

US residential solar financing platform Sunlight Financial has completed its previously-announced merger with Spartan Acquisition, a listed special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). It is now trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

“As a company at the nexus of fintech, solar and ESG, Sunlight has an incredible opportunity to empower more homeowners to embrace clean energy technologies.”

Geoffrey Strong, CEO of Spartan
Fernando Morillo LopezFernando Morillo Lopez
Mashreq Bank hires Fernando Morillo Lopez
Job moves

Mashreq Bank in the UAE, has appointed Fernando Morillo Lopez as its new senior executive vice president and group head of retail banking. He was most recently the MD and global head of retail products and segments for Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore.

Meanwhile, Giuseppe Di Marco has left Soldo to join CleverCards as SVP business development Europe & managing director Italy. CleverCards, the global payments platform, said Di Marco has demonstrable ability to rapidly scale a fintech business.

Elizabeth Hoemeke has joined One Inc, the digital payments platform provider for the insurance industry as chief information officer. She will oversee implementation of One Inc’s global IT roadmap, development of the overall strategic planning, transformation and innovation initiatives, as well as technology solutions security.

Online investment marketplace Crowdcube appoints David Halsey as chief technology officer. He was previously CIO at Moneysupermarket. Crowdcube offers retail investors access to European businesses from startup to IPO, alongside institutional and venture capital investors.

Finally, Matt Homer has joined fintech venture capital firm Nyca Partners as its first-ever executive in residence. He is tasked with further developing Nyca Partner’s crypto strategy. His work will also include sourcing potential investments and strategy development with portfolio companies.

Announcements

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) has announced the winners of its online hackathon. Twenty-five fintech programmers took part in the Hackathon from 24 to 26 June. The bank partnered with CODED Academy to invite programmers to deliver new ideas and innovations to develop NBK mobile banking. The Olympus team ranked first and received a KWD2500 prize.

Adyen, the payments platform, has opened a new office at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The office launch is part of Ayden’s commitment to expanding its local support and platform capabilities in the UAE and the Middle East.

Taco CatTaco Cat
TacoCat: the first token in space

Meanwhile, insurer OneDegree Hong Kong has achieved its 10,000-policy goal for the firm’s Pawfect Care pet insurance in the second quarter of 2021. It also revealed that its renewal rate stands at more than 90 per cent. The company plan to introduce new products in the coming year as well, including medical coverage for humans.

The TacoCat Company is sending its up-and-coming cryptocurrency – TacoCat Token – to Mars. A silver plaque, laser-engraved with the TacoCat logo, as well as the seed phrase to an online wallet holding 100 million TacoCat Tokens, will head into space. TacoCat will also live stream the rocket launch.

Launches

NatWest has introduced a carbon footprint tracking feature for its mobile app to help customers reduce the climate impact of their spending. Delivered in partnership with carbon tracking expert CoGo, customers can see the CO2 emissions associated with their daily spending.

Investments and funding

European challenger bank bunq has raised $228million in a Series A round. Pollen Street Capital and Ali Niknam, founder of bunq, joined the round. As part of the deal, bunq acquired Capitalflow Group, a privately held Irish lending company. In addition to the investment round, bunq also reported that it had recently hit profitability.

Embedded financial service provider Weavr raises £7million seed round. The funding will be used to accelerate international growth as well as product development. It is an extension to the £3million of seed capital raised late last year. Headline joined Anthemis, Seedcamp as well as QED Investors in the round.

While, UK business financial platform Tide has enjoyed a successful Series C funding round raising $100million. The company is now valued at more than $650million post-money. The round was led by funds advised by Apax Digital, the growth equity team of Apax Partners. Anthemis, Augmentum, Jigsaw, Local Globe / Latitude, SBI and SpeedInvest also participated in the round.

Partnerships

Capita has extended its partnership with Virgin Money to deliver mortgage orientation software. OmigaDigital is a mortgage origination, sales and processing system that lets providers manage the end-to-end mortgage process. Strengthening on their existing relationship, Capita has committed to funding £3million of additional investment in the platform in order to drive ongoing innovation.

A partnership for InComm Payments and Flexa gives merchants a seamless way to instantly accept dozens of digital currencies, including Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, Dogecoin and zcash. InComm Payments will enable Flexa’s decentralised finance technology within its retail network.

Standard Chartered UAE has unveiled a multi-currency account in partnership with Visa. The account is linked to the Visa Multi-Currency Debit Card, giving clients the ability to create transactions across 14 currencies. Customers with a Standard Chartered current account, salary account or Saadiq current account can proceed via i-banking or SC Mobile.

Mortgage

MortgageMeanwhile, fintech Raisin DS partners with Renault Bank. Renault Bank’s first Dutch offer is exclusively available on deposits marketplace Raisin.nl. It is the first time a Renault Bank offer – the overnight money account – is available on a savings marketplace.

The National Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers of America (NAMMBA) has joined forces with Finastra to drive change in the mortgage industry. Finastra will support the organisation’s efforts to enrich and improve the situations of women and minorities who work in the real estate finance industry. It will provide training, education and career development resources.

Augmentum Fintech, the UK investment company focusing on the fintech sector, has announced a partnership with asset manager Tikehau Capital. Augmentum has so far backed 22 companies across diversified fintech verticals, with a current net asset value of £183million.

Research and insight

Jupiter Asset Management‘s latest white paper has identified the fintech trends that have had the greatest impact in the last year in the Middle East. In MENA, the paper suggests, compelling opportunities exist for investors to increase their exposure to fintech due to six main themes: the transition to a cashless society, e-commerce, emergence of super apps, financial inclusion, digital banking and digital currencies.

  • Claire works across print and online as Editor for The Fintech Times.

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